Anambra state government has said that the ban placed on prayers in the market were to stop frustrating customers coming to trade in the various markets from travelling to markets in neighbouring states.
The Anambra State Amalgamated Market Traders Association (ASMATA) recently announced banned on prayers in markets across the state, saying it was because politicians hijacked the exercise. The announcement caused controversy in the state.
But Governor Willie Obiano, in a press release signed by Commissioner for Information & Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba, explained that although the state value spirituality, the ban became necessary due to complaints that constant market closures were depriving customers opportunity to buy and sell.
According to the governor, closing markets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to conduct prayers at markets usually force customers from all parts of Nigeria and Africa to go to markets in neighbouring states like Delta.
He said, “Until recently, markets were compulsorily closed every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from morning till afternoon to enable traders to pray for success. A good number of traders have been complaining that the closures were too frequent, all the more so since many of them attend morning devotion daily, say such prayers as The Angelus at midday and Divine Mercy at 3 pm, also daily.”
The governors also stated that there were reports from traders that a certain unnamed religious preacher was brain behind the incessant closures for private gain.
“They are of the view that he has created a culture of fear and has been spreading superstition and rancor in the markets by brainwashing traders into believing that he is responsible for every business breakthrough while ascribing every failure to the spiritual wickedness and manipulation of family members and fellow traders.
“In the process, according to the traders, the preacher has been making a fortune at their expense. Whatever may be the degree of frustration which the traders feel about the incessant market closures and their possible manipulation by a self-serving preacher, the Anambra State government advises all those in the markets in the state to remain spiritual because their spirituality benefits the state, like in its significant contribution to Anambra’s emergence as the safest and most peaceful and united state in the whole country.”
He advised business men to rather hold “a global and compulsory prayer session monthly. Each market will decide on the day and time to shut down and hold its own prayers to thank God for His protection, guidance and blessings. Meanwhile, individuals and groups will continue with their daily prayers like Morning Devotion, The Angelus and Divine Mercy.”